Sunday, December 4, 2011

Catching Up-A Long Few Months

Thanksgiving Flowers from my cousin, Russ
After what seems like a long hiatus, I have summarized my last couple of months reading.  I have gathered this recap mainly for my own benefit. In the process, I hope perhaps one of more of these titles will attract your interest.  I doubt I will publish lengthy reviews on these, but my hope is to offer my brief, very brief comments.  These are books read over a period of time, a time of healing for me and deep self-reflection. With regrets, my writing has had to take a back seat to my health in order to focus on other priorities. With my ever shining optimism...I will pick up somewhere, regroup and begin to visit my blogger friend's posts soon.   I have missed my social network of bibliophiles and I hope everyone had a beautiful Thanksgiving. I did, and I know how very blessed I am. 

Yep, a purple poinsettia!!

August-November Books Read

53. Across Many Mountains, by Yangzom Brauen, A Memoir (A Tibetan Family's Epic Journey from Oppression to Freedom. (Library Thing Early Reviewer)

Across Many Mountains was an engrossing read about three women of different generations, mother, daughter and grandmother.  Many of you know how much I like to read about powerful and inspiring women. If you are that type of person, and want to learn a bit about Tibet and their struggle for freedom....this is a must read. I loved it!! So much so, I have been searching for more information and background about Tibet and China.  ~Wisteria Leigh

54. Catherine the Great, Non-Fiction, Portait of a Woman by Robert K. Massie, Random House, 978-0-679-45672-8. November 11, 2011 Release.

Another strong woman who came to life with Massie's magic. I am in awe of Catherine the Great and couldn't put this well written biography.  Her story is a fascinating read that unravels with unencumbered grace from beginning to end. Robert Massie is an amazingly talented writer. Anyone who loves history, particularly about famous women monarchs will enjoy this one. You might want to pick up an additional copy and give it this year to a biography reader in your life.~Wisteria Leigh 

55. Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, by Amy Chua, Penguin Press, Chinese American Biography, 978-1-59420-284-1. (Self-purchase)

This was great! The point of view of a mother who is driven to push her daughters to excellence and the consequences she must face and accept. This one surprised me. I was expecting something quite different.   As a teacher, I see the pressures put on many students, some can handle it, others can't. Naturally, all parents want the best for their children. So did Amy Chua. 
I enjoyed her journey of discovery when she realizes the fate of one daughter was sabotaged from the beginning.  I was anxious to read this for some time. Chua wrote a superb and honest reflection of her story. ~ Wisteria Leigh

56. A Discovery of Witches, by Deborah Harkness,  Viking Press (Penguin Group), 978-0-670-0-02241-0. (561 pages), First book in the All Souls trilogy. Love, love loved this one!!! (Vampires, Witches, Alchemy, Science and magic). Published 2011.

I will tell you, I loved this one so much, I can't wait for the second book. Refreshing and fun novel. Deborah Harkness created her own magic as my hands were velcroed to this book.  Really...I liked it better than Twilight. ~Wisteria Leigh

57. Conquistadora, by Esmeralda Santiago, 978-0-307-26832-7, Alfred A. Knopf, historical fiction, Puerto Rico 19th century, Women plantation owners, sugar plantations, slavery. (421 pages).

I must really love Spanish writers as I have noticed a pattern in my reading over the last few months. Whether the setting is Spain or some other Latin culture, or it is a translation from a work by a Spanish writer, I have enjoyed each one. I am a huge fan of Isabel Allende, and the writing of Esmeralda Santiago although much different, is impressive with an equally satisfying gift of story telling prowess. The courageous character Ana Larragoity Cubillas, is driven and self-reliant. The setting of Puerto Rico is close to me, as I lived in a small town outside San Juan as a child. Another strong female role placed this time in an engaging period of history that is seldom written about. Beautiful!! ~Wisteria Leigh
58. The Northside, by Nelson Johnson, 978-0-937548-73-8, Non-fiction, Atlantic City/African Americans.(358 pages), Plexus Publishing, Inc. (Historical Novels Review-self purchase).

A valuable and interesting history of the creation of Atlantic City. The author uncovers the "real history" and the blood, sweat and tears of the African Americans who migrated north to build a vacation destiny for rich whites. The story of how a small community known as Northside emerged as a result of another racial imbalance in history. Fascinating cover to cover. ~Wisteria Leigh

59. Midnight on Julia Street by Ciji Ware, 978-1-4022-2272-6, (512 pages), Sourcebooks, historical fiction. Release August 2011.

Review to appear in Historical Novels Review. A heads up...I adore Ciji Ware and Midnight on Julia Street is one of my favorite books of those I have read...and I have read many.  The sultry New Orleans setting with a story that offers intrigue and mystery when a downtown historic building is the center of a battle. In a town where everyone appears to be related, and everyone knows someone, the history of the condemned building will reveal secrets no one could have imagined. Ware at her quintessential best! ~Wisteria Leigh

60. The Betrayal, by Diane Noble, Brides of Gabriel Book 2, 978-0-06-198094-7, historical Fiction, 1842, Salt Lake Valley, Harper Collins (Avon), (290 pages). (Early Reviewer Library Thing).

An historical fiction drama about polygamy and the relationships of women who are sister wives is presented in this Brides of Gabriel book called The Betrayal. I was expecting a placid read of life in Salt Lake Valley, but Noble has other plans for her story.  It is not my favorite book in the list presented here, but it was a fun read.  To be fair, the subject matter does not interest me. Very straight forward and predictable.  This was just an average read for me, but I did finish it. ~Wisteria Leigh

61. Sleeping With the Enemy,  by Hal Vaughan, (Coco Chanel's Secret War), 978-0-307-59263-7. (282 pages),  Alfred A. Knopf, 2011. (Self purchase).

I looked forward to reading this book so much, I put aside others that I had been hoping to read next. The story of Coco Chanel and her life during World War II is presented by Hal Vaughan who claims to have exposed the reality of Coco Chanel and her collaboration with the enemy. 
Fascinating to read about Chanel and what Vaughan believes is truth. Read it and form your own conclusions. This one is well worth a look. ~Wisteria Leigh

Reviews to be continued on upcoming post......

62. The Time in Between, by María Dueñas, 978-1-4516-1688-0, (615 pages), Simon and Schuster (Atria), Historical fiction, seamstress during Spanish Civil War and World WarII. Translated by Daniel Hahn. Copyright 2009, Atria edition 2011.

63. Shame the Devil, by Debra Brenegan, 978-1-4384-3587-9, (341 pages) Historical Fiction about Fanny Fern American novelist (1811-1872), Excelsior Edition, 2011. (Historical Novels Review).

64. Prophecy, by S.J. Parris, Author of Heresy, Historical Fiction, 978-0-385-53130-6, (384 pages), Doubleday, May 2011 release. 

65. Fire Monks, Zen Mind Meets Wildfire at the Gates of Tassajara, by Colleen Morton Busch, 
Non-fiction-Biography, California, Wildfire control, Firefighters, Zen Buddhism, 978-1-59420-291-9 Penguin Press,  (256 pages), 2011. (Purchase).

66. Lady of English, by Elizabeth Chadwick, 978-1-4022-5092-7, Sourcebooks landmark, (514 pages), historical fiction, 12th century.

67. Why China Will Never Rule the World, by Troy Parfitt, Western Hemisphere Press, 978-0-9868035-0-5, Non-fiction, Travel- Current Affairs, Taiwan, China. (424 pages).

68.Up From These Hills, by Leonard Carson Lambert & Michael Lambert, 978-0-8032-3536-6, Bison Books, Non-Fiction-Memoir, (199 pages).

69. The Underground Railroad in the Adirondack Region, Tom Calarco, 978-0-7864-6416-6, Non-fiction, Underground Railroad, History 19th century, Anti-slave movement, Adirondack, New York, (293 pages) Library Thing Review.

70. The Help, by Kathryn Stockett, 978-0-399-15534-5, historical fiction, Civil Rights Movement, African American women, Jackson, Mississippi, (453 pages).

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1 comment:

Marg said...

I am so glad to see that you enjoyed Discovery of Witches! I loved that book too and I can't wait to get my hands on the sequel next year.